Before Mars by Emma Newman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sometimes it's quite hard reviewing books for which you KNOW are rather groundbreaking but do so in a quiet manner and stretch the quality across a span of books.
It's never just one thing. It's a whole slew of wonderful worldbuilding quirks, a dedication to deep mystery, and extremely complicated characters often riddled with mental health issues and/or very real plot complications.
In this third book, related only by its housing in the greater worldbuilding and future history shared with the others, we're given a very different kind of character. Not an engineer or a put-upon corporate slave, but an artist slipped into the corporate works on Mars. Is she lucky? Is she turned into a pawn for others?
She doesn't seem all that sure of herself despite being recognized as an excellent painter, but none of that really matters. She's there and a number of little things don't add up. And that's okay. We're in for a great story where the reveals are numerous, emotional, disturbing, and often made me turn against our protagonist. And that is also okay because she's complicated and sympathetic and real and often depressed.
As it turns out, she has good reasons. No spoilers, but the plot is rather cool and much bigger than the blurb implies. :)
Very solid SF. Better than most. I'm probably turning into one of those readers who will always jump on the next book no matter what she writes. She's just that good. :)
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